We all know flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, but what about basil seeds?
The new superseed on the market, you’d be surprised to learn that basil seeds have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for various ailments.
Rich in protein, fiber, calcium and omega 3, these seeds are health benefits galore, and also (spoiler alert) are quite the #beauty aid…
While researchers continue to test the health effects of these seeds, there are studies that show improved effects for skin, hair, stabilising blood sugars and improving cholesterol.
Sold? Nearly sold? Here’s a rundown of this new superseed and why you need it:
EASY TO FIND & USE
Basil seeds come from Thai basil (the usual basil we cook with), and are quite easy to find. You need not look further than your local health food store or Asian supermarket when trying to get your hands on these bad boys.
Basil seeds are a little larger than chia seeds, and, like chia are gelatinous when soaked in water. However, unlike chia, these seeds cannot be eaten raw, as they become too difficult to digest.
Soak two tablespoons of basil seeds in 1 cup of coconut milk, cover and leave to soak overnight in the fridge. Top your basil seed pudding with a good drizzle of honey, nuts and dried fruit. Yum! You can also add basil seeds to your smoothies, in your water bottle or on top of your cereal, yoghurt or salad for an extra protein and fiber boost.
Be aware, if you’re struggling to spot them in the aisle, basil seeds also go by the Indian name, ‘Sabja’.
So why are they so good for your skin?
Well, basil seeds are packed with antioxidants, vitamin K and iron which all promote healthy skin, and also healthy hair. Antioxidants are particularly important here, for their ability to protect the skin against damaging free radicals.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are molecules in the environment which target cells and cause aging and illness. Air pollutants, chemicals and cigarette smoke are all free radicals that cling to the collagen in your skin and break it down.
This is where basil seeds come into play.
Antioxidants and flavonoids in these seeds help to improve immunity and health of the skin, as well as stimulate the growth of new cells. Flavonoids also play a major role in reducing collagen degradation and delaying skin aging.
What else can they do for skin?
Because of their cell-growing properties, basil seeds can help in treating various skin infections, including eczema and psoriasis. Mixing one teaspoon of basil seeds with coconut oil and applying directly to the affected area can help to reduce inflammation and irritation.
GENUINE HEALTH BENEFITS
With twice the fiber, iron, potassium and calcium of chia seeds, basil seeds are nutrient-dense, and are even considered an aid for weight loss.
High in fiber, including the soluble fiber pectin, basil seeds will make you fuller for longer, and control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This reduces cravings and insulin spikes throughout the day.
There is also the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to boost a fat-burning metabolism within the body.
On top of this, basil seeds are great for digestive health. They contain volatile oils which naturally detox your body and gastrointestinal tract, to reduce bloating and constipation, keeping you (ahem) regular…
So, the main takeaway? Basil seeds are packed with all kinds of nutrients and benefits, and their capacity to improve skin health is high. If you’re a fan of the chewy texture, go ahead and add these to your breakfasts and drinks, you’ll reap the rewards!